I’ve always been fascinated by the bald eagle, our country’s national symbol. But about a decade ago these once-endangered creatures came to symbolize something even more special for me.
My women’s group was reading a book by husband-wife duo John and Stasi Eldredge in which they shared an amazing story.
While John was on a business trip in Oregon, he went to a deserted beach for alone time with God. Suddenly a huge plume of water shot up and a massive humpback whale appeared right by the shore.
John said he knew immediately that this was a gift from God to his heart alone, a “gift from the Lover of his heart.”
Thrilled with John’s divine “gift,” Stasi wished for one too. So while at a women’s retreat in California, she headed to the beach for time alone with God. Seated in the sand, she asked God to see a whale.
After a lengthy wait with no such sighting, she headed back to the retreat. Walking around a corner, she encountered a beautiful, solitary starfish in the sand and knew it was her special gift. Immediately, Stasi thanked God for His amazing love and rounded the next bend.
“Before me, behind me, surrounding me, were hundreds of starfish. Zillions of them,” she says. “God didn’t just love me. He LOOOOVED me!”
As our study group discussed this story, some said they, too, hoped for a special reminder of God’s love. I didn’t mention it, but knew I wouldn’t be asking for any such “sign.” After all, I was a longtime Christ-follower who accepted the truth of God’s love for me described in His Word and didn’t need any “touchy-feely” stuff 🙂 (Can you guess where this story is headed?)
At the next meeting a couple women joyfully shared their answered prayers, including one who had a beautiful, double rainbow appear right in front of her car.
A few days later I just had started an early evening walk when my husband called out that he would go with me if I waited. Frankly, I really wanted to get going and hurry back to my to-do list. But I love my husband, so I waited.
As we headed down our big hill, I glanced up. Flying about 25 feet above was a bald eagle. I always had longed to see this majestic bird in the wild, but never mentioned my deep desire to anyone.
I began pointing and grinning while fighting back tears. I had walked/jogged that street day-after-day for many years and never seen this eagle who apparently fished at a nearby small lake. It was no coincidence that I saw it that day; instead it was a powerful reminder that the God who can read our minds delights in our joy.
As Stasi Eldredge writes: “He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster. We have missed many of his notes simply because we shut our hearts down in order to endure the pain of life.”
How about you, my friend? Has the pain of life pushed your heart closed to the joy of God’s love for you? I can’t promise you a whale, zillions of starfish, or even a bald eagle, but I agree with Stasi that “we must choose to open our heart again so that we might hear his whispers” of love.
Every time I see a bald eagle (including this one flying over my next-door neighbors recently), it thrills my heart and reminds me of my heavenly Father’s love.
Go ahead and ask Him to whisper His love to your heart today.
“And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”
“I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.”
Be sure to open in your browser to hear the music video “How He Loves Us” by the David Crowder Band.